Nearly 30 safety awareness meetings are being held statewide over the next several weeks to remind Iowans about the importance of calling 8-1-1 before they do any digging, professionally or in their own yards. Ben Booth, spokesman for Iowa One Call, says the sessions are free and are designed help folks understand the law and the free service.
“We’re preventing damage to the underground infrastructure, that’s things like gas, electric, water, communications,” Booth says. “They’re buried. They’re outta’ sight. They’re outta’ mind. What do you do when you’re going to dig? You call Iowa One Call first so Iowa One Call can coordinate the locating and marking of those underground facilities.” They’ll be marked with color-coded paint or flags at no cost to the excavator. The meetings started last month and are being held in communities across the state through March. Booth says the series is called “Working Together…Partners in Damage Prevention,” which focuses on the shared responsibility of damage prevention.
Booth says state law requires anyone who’s planning to do excavation to call Iowa One Call first. The meetings explain the safety standards, protocols and requirements. The free program includes a complimentary meal — breakfast or lunch, depending on the time of day — and a gift for each attendee. Booth says 29 of the informative meetings are being held across Iowa.
“They’re geared towards the professional sector, the excavators and the people that dig for a living, so to speak, but anyone can go,” Booth says. Each session runs about 90 minutes. Attendees are encouraged to pre-register for the meetings by logging on to “www.iowaonecall.com.” To reach Iowa One Call prior to digging, call just 811 or 800-292-8989 at least 48 hours prior to breaking ground.